The Commissioner for Public Appointments

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Public Appointments Commissioner - Annual Report 2014-15 (29 October 2015)


Sir David Normington, the independent Commissioner for Public Appointments, today published his annual report for 2014-15 which details his work regulating Ministerial appointments to Boards of Public Bodies to ensure they are made on merit after a fair and open process. The report can be accessed by clicking here.

Sir David said: “The highlight this year is the continuing progress in the proportion of women being appointed to boards of public bodies. This reached 45.2% this year, up from 34.7% in 2009-10 and represents a major step forward in improving the diversity of UK public bodies and is a tribute to the way the last government energised the whole system to improve gender diversity.

“However, statistics from Departments show less good progress on black and minority ethnic candidates and particularly disappointing results on disability.  Overwhelmingly, those appointed to boards of public bodies are still more likely to be people who are white, able bodied and older. There needs to be a concerted attempt to widen the intake, to attract some younger people to public roles and to draw in different types of experience from the norm. There is an urgent need to remove the barriers which currently discourage those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds from applying for public roles and to understand what is stopping them from progressing in the competition, when they do apply.

“Another area of concern is the weakening capability of some Government Departments to conduct effective and efficient selection processes. This is partly the result of resource constraints but it also reflects the lack of priority, which Departments give to filling key posts on public boards. The result can be formulaic, long drawn out recruitment processes with candidates kept waiting far too long for a decision.

“I am sure that these and other issues will be considered as part of the Government’s review of my Office, currently being conducted by Sir Gerry Grimstone. This is my final report as Commissioner as my term of office ends in March. My main wish for my successor, when he or she is appointed, is that they have the independence, the resource and the political backing to continue the work which Lord Nolan and the Committee on Standards in Public Life set in train in 1995 and which is no less important today.”

Notes to Editors

1. Media enquiries about the work of the Commissioner for Public Appointments should go to Maggie O’Boyle on 07880 740627.

2. Sir David Normington was appointed Commissioner for Public Appointments for England and Wales and First Civil Service Commissioner on 1 April 2011.

3. The post of Commissioner for Public Appointments was created in 1995 following a report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, chaired by Lord Nolan.

4. The Commissioner for Public Appointments regulates the processes by which Ministers (including Welsh Assembly Government Ministers) make appointments to the boards of national and regional public bodies. He also currently regulates appointments processes in relation to some bodies in Northern Ireland.

5. The previous Government announced a review of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments on 23 March 2015. The terms of reference for the Review can be found here:

6. The Commissioner’s evidence to the OCPA review can be found by clicking here

7. For more information about the work of the Commissioner go to:


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